France took a major step forwards in 2020 with seven wins in nine matches but for centre Arthur Vincent, 2021 has to be the year where they push for a title.
Les Bleus finished runners-up in the 2020 Guinness Six Nations on points difference behind champions England.
And they were denied again by Eddie Jones’ side in the Autumn Nations Cup, losing in extra-time at Twickenham, despite playing a much-changed team because of a restriction on the number of appearances for France players in the autumn.
Heading into 2021 France will carry a lot of momentum, and Vincent is optimistic that they can kick on, starting with an opening trip to Rome.
Speaking at their training camp in Nice, he said: “Like every player and every team, we are competitors and we want to win matches and titles. We would have loved for last year to finish with a title, even if we did very well.
“We are working hard to win the first match, then we will take each game one at a time with the ambition to win each one.”
Vincent made his debut in the 2020 Championship and could now have an increased role in 2021 with Virimi Vakatawa having been ruled out with a knee injury.
Les Bleus were the top scorers in last year’s Guinness Six Nations but are still looking to improve their attacking game, with Vincent explaining how they are focused on the little details in order to become more efficient with the ball.
He said: “Fabien Galthié has talked about the importance of being ‘cold’ when we have the ball, among other details. We need to work on our strengths and our weaknesses.
“You have to adapt to international. In any case, we are right behind this project, everyone has faith in the game we are playing. We are all working together to be as good as possible.”
As well as Vakatawa, France will be without Romain Ntamack for the start of the campaign, while Grégory Alldritt is also missing the training camp to have a scan on his knee.
And on Monday a further three players were ruled out of the training camp, Toulon pair Jean-Baptiste Gros and Swan Rebbadj, as well as La Rochelle prop Uini Atonio.
Their places in the squad have been taken by Toulouse tighthead Dorian Aldegheri, Bordeaux loosehead Thierry Paiva and La Rochelle lock Thomas Lavault. The latter pair could win their first caps during the 2021 Championship.